Seeing The Light Of Day
NOT TOO LONG ago, the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse team got invited to the White House. The resulting photo, which should have been a source of parental pride for years to come, soon became the stuff of media buzz legend. “You wore flip-flops to the White House?!,” proclaimed an e-mail sent to one of the four players who, while posing in the front row, was captured wearing the offending sandals. But the choice of footwear shouldn’t have surprised anyone—it’s merely a sign of the times.
In general, the public’s attitude toward clothing styles has become more and more laissez-faire over the years. Suits, once a corporate mainstay, now read as “stuffy” and “old-school.” Hemlines continue to defy gravity, although laws forbidding indecent exposure eventually should curtail that trend.
As something that, years ago, would have caused a national outrage, 2005’s flip-flop debacle sparked a halfhearted debate at best. Capitol Hill might disagree, but the standards for what’s “appropriate” and “acceptable” are, on the whole, loosening up.
COMING OUT PARTY
Much to the joy of the promotional products industry, comfort and sleepwear items are joining flip-flops in redefining conventional standards for tolerable everyday wear. And if past precedents are to be believed, there’s no telling just how long this trend will prevail. Take the rise of jeans from working man’s must-have to all-encompassing style staple. While it’s safe to say Levi Strauss himself couldn’t have predicted today’s designer denim fetching prices in the hundreds of dollars, nary a crystal ball could foretell that flannel and jersey would become daytime fare, either.
“Sleepwear is in a phase similar to blue jeans in the 1980s. Jeans were considered a working-class look rather than a fashion statement,” noted Luiza Raposo, marketing assistant at Atlanta-based Boxercraft. She added, “Calvin Klein turned that around with popular ad campaigns that created a strong brand.”